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Sleep disorder increases risk of brain cancer: doctor

2013/03/16 19:57:54

Taipei, March 16 (CNA) The number of people with sleep apnea who develop malignant brain tumors is 1.47 times higher than among those who do not have the sleep disorder, a doctor reported Saturday, citing a study that he led.

Huang Chun-hao, director of the Sleep Center at the Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital in Chiayi County, said at a two-day academic conference that his study followed 112,555 adults diagnosed with sleep apnea, and 112,555 adults who had no such problem, starting in 2000.

Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing during sleep. Each pause in breathing is called an apnea.

The study, which followed some people for up to 10 years, found that the incidence of malignant brain tumors among people with sleep apena is 2.96 in every 10,000 per year, Huang said.

Among people without the sleep disorder, the ratio is 1.66 per 10,000 per year, he said at the conference at Shin Kong Wu Ho-su Memorial Hospital, which was sponsored by the Taiwan Society of Sleep Medicine.

After making adjustments for factors such as age, gender, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cerebral vascular disease and Parkinson's Disease, the doctor said, he found that the ratio of adults with sleep apnea who developed malignant brain tumors was 1.47 times that in the control group. Foreign medical literature has said that women can reduce the risk of breast cancer by getting adequate sleep, he noted.

People who do not get enough sleep also have a higher chance of developing benign colon adenomas, Huang said. Those who do not sleep well and have an insufficient supply of oxygen to the body are at increased risk for all kinds of cancer, he added.

He said that while sleep apnea and snoring may be seen as minor problems, attention should be given to dealing these conditions, which in turn will help prevent high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia and high blood sugar, and cut the risk of cancer.

(By Lung Jui-yun and Lilian Wu)
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